Cloud computing and its role in business processes

For every small and medium-sized enterprise (SME), becoming more efficient with its processes and resources is critical to reducing costs and maintaining steady business growth. Enterprise technologies, such as those based on cloud computing, can help create a competitive advantage and give a strong impetus to the growth strategy. In fact, the role of information technology (IT) in business is gaining momentum, and more and more processes are incorporating technology solutions to boost efficiency, productivity and competitiveness.

It is true that SMEs often face challenges in investing and managing their IT resources and infrastructure due to limited budgets and insufficient in-house expertise. However, cloud solutions represent a practical approach that offers adaptable, scalable and cost-effective options to address IT needs.

Gartner figures show that cloud technology adoption will continue to grow. By 2025, the analyst firm estimates that more than 95 percent of new digital workloads will be deployed on cloud platforms, up from 30 percent in 2021. And is that cloud computing allows maximizing profits without compromising quality, cost and efficiency.

I invite you to read on, because in this blog post we will learn what is cloud computing, what is the main function, the types of cloud computing that exist and the benefits for a company like yours.

What is cloud computing?

I'm sure you've heard about terms like cloud computing, cloud computing or cloud computing. But what is cloud computing?

In simple terms, we can say that cloud computing is a virtual storage space on the Internet, where digital resources, such as software, applications and files, can be placed.

Cloud computing enables the use of digital capabilities provided over the Internet for organizations to operate and service their customers, eliminating the need to host digital applications on their own servers.

When we say that IT services are cloud-based or cloud-hosted, it means that they are stored on online servers, rather than on a computer hard drive; and they can be accessed through self-service, using a browser or dedicated web applications.

What is the main function of cloud computing?

The main function of cloud computing is to enable the execution of workloads in virtual environments, as it provides a series of computational resources, such as software, applications, servers, files and data storage through the Internet and with a payment model, with the possibility of using and accessing them from anywhere and at any time.

This on-demand provisioning of computing resources prevents organizations of any size from having to invest in expensive, high-end infrastructure and license purchases; furthermore, they do not need to configure and manage software resources, as this will be done by the cloud computing provider.

This avoids the costs for technology solutions to be raised by the purchase of software and hardware solutions, as well as maintenance and support services, generating significant savings that a company, especially a growing one, can allocate to one of its strategic and business objectives.

4 types of cloud computing

There are four types of cloud computing, which differ in the way they are implemented, the location of the infrastructure and the level of management by the client. Knowing and understanding each of these is important not only to know that they exist, but also to identify which one you should consider, according to your company's characteristics, IT and business needs.

The four types of cloud computing are: public cloud, private cloud, hybrid cloud and multi-cloud.

1. Public cloud

A type of cloud computing in which services are delivered over a network for public use, so customers have no control over the location of the infrastructure.

Public cloud computing is a good option for small businesses, which can start their business without large upfront investments, relying on public infrastructure for their IT needs.

It is not intended to serve a single customer, but multiple users, which means that the cost is shared by all of them.

2. Private cloud

This IT cloud is a system that operates on a private infrastructure that is only used by one organization, meaning that the resources and infrastructure are 100% dedicated to one company. As such, there is greater control over security and data protection.

Private clouds can be a good option for organizations that have high security demands, high management demands and uptime requirements.

Some companies choose this type of cloud computing because it is an easy way to achieve compliance requirements. Still others consider it because they need to manage sensitive documents, intellectual property or personally identifiable information.

3. Hybrid cloud

This is an infrastructure that uses both public and private clouds, allowing each to remain a separate entity. It therefore offers the advantages and disadvantages of the previous types of cloud computing.

Digital resources and assets are managed and can be provided internally or by external providers.

This cloud is excellent for organizations seeking continuous scalability, flexibility and security. An example might be a company that chooses to use the public cloud to interact with customers, but at the same time, keeps its data secure through a private cloud.

4. Multicloud

Multicloud is a cloud infrastructure approach that includes a combination of two or more platforms from different vendors, in a single architecture. This allows organizations to use the most appropriate services for their specific needs and avoid vendor lock-in.

With this type of cloud computing, enterprises can take advantage of the different features and capabilities offered by the various cloud platforms.

By incorporating a full range of multi-cloud enterprise capabilities, businesses will gain an advantage in the marketplace, as service delivery is consistent and based on frictionless consumption, self-service, automation and infrastructure independence, ensuring greater agility.

Benefits of cloud computing in enterprises

With cloud computing, growing enterprises can have access to the technology needed to remain efficient, productive, agile and competitive without worrying about overhead and maintenance costs, which will undoubtedly help drive business growth.

Among the benefits that companies can gain from cloud computing are:
  • Reduced IT costs: With cloud computing, companies no longer have to invest heavily to solve their physical IT needs, which will allow them to save costs.
  • Access from anywhere, on any device, at any time: this technology means that daily business operations can be carried out from any place and device, so that contingency situations such as pandemics, floods or fires will not slow down business continuity.
  • Data and application security: the use of cloud computing is a very secure method of storing data and operating the business. Companies do not have to worry about new IT threats, as the cloud provider is the one who develops new encryption and intrusion monitoring solutions to keep data secure.
  • Scalability as needed: As the business grows, the cloud infrastructure can easily adjust to workloads as well as the number of users with access to applications.
Cloud computing has become an essential tool for companies to find new approaches to improve and succeed in their business objectives. Adopting these solutions allows growing companies to operate efficiently, better serve their customers and increase their revenues.

A great example of how cloud computing is transforming SMEs is enterprise resource planning systems (ERPs). In the past, to run these solutions, it was necessary to buy, implement and host them on the company's hardware, which required a lot of time, resources and investment costs.

Now, fully managed cloud services, such as SAP Business One Cloud, allow you to get the benefits of cloud computing, while your company allocates its resources to focus on its core business.